It’s a normal reaction to tense up and brace yourself for surges of pain when you experience an injury or have a chronic illness. Doing so, however, can actually make your pain feel worse. How so? It’s because muscles get tensed and your heart rate becomes elevated, both of which send surges through the body causing an increased level of pain.
Sitting back, deep breathing and relaxing all of your muscles when you anticipate a surge of pain is a great way to lessen the response. These relaxation techniques help you disengage with the thoughts that provide feedback to the part of the brain that reacts to stress and pain…and, that helps the nervous system calm down, heart rate slow back down and lessen the effects.
Next time you feel a surge of stress with pain coming on choose whatever relaxes you: music, prayer, walking, talking with a friend on the phone. Or, here are some other techniques you might try:
- Breathing. Breathe deeply to expand and contract your core. Inhale to a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale to a count of four, then hold to a count of four. Repeat until you feel the pain disappearing.
- Visualization. Breathe slowly and deeply. Imagine you are in a place where you feel happy, comfortable, safe and relaxed. Think about the scenery, smells and how good you feel when you are in that place. Do this at the start of each day and a few more time throughout it and you may find you don’t get the surges of pain you used to.
- Talk yourself out of pain. Change how you think about your pain. For example, change thinking that your pain is preventing you from living life to the fullest. Instead, choose to think about doing the same things, but doing them maybe a little slower or differently. Power of positive thinking helps in all aspects of life for many, not just in pain management.
- Meditate. Sit or lie quietly and notice your breathing without controlling it. When thoughts of pain start to enter, simply notice and acknowledge them. Think of them as a cloud passing over or a rushing river carrying them away then return to observing your breath and how relaxed you are.
We also understand at Ortho El Paso and The Hand Surgery Center at Ortho El Paso, that some pain related to orthopedic injury, arthritis, or other painful conditions of bones and joints need medical attention. That’s why we are here for you!
For a consultation with one of our orthopaedic surgeons to discuss the conditions of your pain of the hand, elbow, shoulder, knee, hip, or other, call us at 915-249-4000 or visit us at www.orthoep.com.